White classic Mustang Cobra photographed by Jorgen Hendriksen

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Silver vs. Chrome Wheels for Your Mustang

April 13, 2023

Silver vs. Chrome Wheels for Your Mustang

Most people can agree that aesthetics are a fundamental reason for choosing a particular wheel, apart from functionality and performance. The set of wheels you put on your Mustang changes its looks entirely and affects its maintenance. For a vehicle like the Ford Mustang, owners have limitless options when it comes to wheels.

Let’s take a look at the different types of wheels available for your Ford Mustang — silver or chrome, brushed or polished — to help you make the best decision.

Types of Mustang Wheel Finishes

The finish of your wheels has a tremendous impact on the look and feel of your vehicle. Moreover, different wheels have different life spans and maintenance levels. There are several types of wheel finishes available today. The most popular wheel finishes include paint and lacquer, silver, chrome, powder coat and machine finish wheels.

1. Painted Finish

This kind of wheel finish is the most common, made of wet paint. The process to create it begins with applying primer, then painting with a high-velocity, low-pressure (HVLP) spray gun. Finally, a clear topcoat is used to protect the paintwork.

There are a variety of colors from which you can choose, such as red, blue, bronze or matte black. This selection gives you the freedom to customize your wheels. Further, some paint wheel finishes are relatively easier to maintain. When cleaning painted wheel finishes, just remember to use non-acidic and non-abrasive products to maintain the finish.

2. Powder Coated Finish

For this finish, dry powder is applied to serve as the powder coating. As opposed to liquid paint, powder coating doesn’t require any solvent. Typically, an electrostatic process is used for the layer and then heated to cure the coating. This process makes the finish durable and attractive.

These coatings are durable and easy to apply. The most significant benefit of powder coating is that it creates a thick and non-porous layer on the surface, protecting the wheels from contact with external materials such as water, air and grime.

3. Chrome-Plated Finish

This finish offers a mirrored look for your car’s wheels. The chrome-plated finish is accomplished with layers of copper, chromium and nickel. To maintain their appearance, chrome wheels require attention and care — you clean them regularly with water, mild shampoo and a microfiber cloth. Protect the wheels from dirt and corrosion with polish and wax.

4. Machine Finish

The machine finish is achieved when wheels are spun on a Computerized Numerical Control (CNC) lathe. This process cuts off the surface of the metal, giving it that metallic touch. However, you may add a clear coat to machined finish wheels for a different look — you can use clear-coated machine finishes on painted surfaces and raw aluminum.

5. Hyper Silver Finish

The special hyper silver paint gives wheels a splendid glow. This involves a complex process where the silver finishes are made of a combination of two layers — first with a light and dark layer, then a silver finish. Even without a chrome layer, hyper silver finishes are attention-grabbing.

Silver vs. Chrome Wheels: Key Differences

Silver vs. Chrome Wheels: Key Differences

Are silver wheels better than chrome? Are chrome wheels worth it? Many people believe choosing one over the other is a matter of preference. However, the answers lie in a few different factors, including aesthetics, durability, maintenance, popularity and price.


Generally, silver wheels are the standard finish for many car wheels. These wheels are well-known because they fit all kinds of vehicles, providing a clean look that works well with any Mustang model. Further, silver wheels are durable and conceal nicks and scratches, and are relatively easier to clean and maintain. These characteristics make silver wheels more economical.

The main downside of silver wheels is that the thick protective layer of metals followed by chrome paint adds weight to the wheel.


A set of classic chrome wheels can give your Mustang an iconic feel. These wheels fit perfectly on various Mustang models. Additionally, chrome wheels blend with multiple colors. To maintain that definitive look, chrome wheels need regular cleaning with a universal wheel cleaner.

Fortunately, chrome wheels have an electroplated protective layer that lessens the oxidation process, so they’re more resistant to corrosion. Additionally, they can withstand harsh weather conditions.

Choosing Between Brushed vs. Polished Wheels

These two kinds of wheels are just what their names suggest. Here’s a quick overview to give you more information about polished vs. chrome wheels.

Brushed Wheels

These wheels are powder coated and can be tinted in various colors, giving you the option to personalize your wheels to match your car. Although they can be more challenging to maintain than polished wheels because of their larger pores, you can use a special cleaner to keep them in great shape and prevent corrosion.

Polished Wheels

In comparison, polished silver wheels feature polished surfaces. A sanding process gives polished wheels their shiny, mirror-like appearance. Unlike wheels with plated surfaces, you must clean polished wheels often. Be sure to polish them and apply wax to seal the glow.

How Do You Maintain Your Mustang’s Wheels?

Maintaining your Mustang’s wheels is crucial to preserve their sleek and attractive appearance. With the right process and products, you can keep your wheels clean and make them last longer.

1. Learn More About Your Wheel Type

The material used to make your wheels determines how much maintenance they require. For instance, you maintain aluminum wheels differently than steel wheels. Moreover, the finishes on your wheels will also influence how you care for them. Ensure you understand what kind of maintenance your specific wheels require.

2. Clean Your Wheels Regularly

Be sure to clean your wheels regularly so that they can maintain their appearance and durability.

First, make sure you have the following products handy:

Here are the steps you can take to effectively clean your Mustang’s wheels:

  1. Clean the wheels: Wash the wheel with water to get rid of dirt and grime. Make sure to rinse both the exterior and interior parts of the wheel. This process prepares you for the subsequent steps.
  2. Use the wheel cleaner: Apply the wheel cleaner to all areas of the wheel — non-acidic and non-caustic wheel cleaners are the best at protecting your wheels while removing excess dirt and grime.
  3. Scrub the wheel: Scrub the interior and exterior of the wheel with your wheel brush being cautious of using too much force so that you don’t cause scratching. Use a broad brush for the surface and a cone brush for the smaller spaces.
  4. Polish the surface: Polish the wheel gradually to avoid streaks. Take time to polish the exterior, then move on to the interior.
  5. Wax the wheel: Complete the process by waxing the wheel’s surface. Wait for the wax to dry and clean it with the microfiber cloth.

Then, complete the same process for the remaining three wheels, and you’re good to go!

3. Protect Them From Oxidation

If you use aluminum wheels on your Mustang, oxidation will likely occur. Reduce oxidation by cleaning your wheels regularly and polishing them on occasion. Do so consistently to protect your wheels from rusting.

Top Flight Automotive: The Home of Mustang Wheels

Top Flight Automotive: The Home of Mustang Wheels

The wheels you put on your Mustang assist with your car’s performance and control and add to your vehicle’s overall look. When deciding which wheel to get for your car — whether silver or chrome, brushed or polished — you must consider which ones suit your specific make and model the best.

Fortunately, Top Flight Automotive has your back, offering various styles of Mustang wheels at affordable prices. Our experienced sales team can assist you in picking a wheel that matches your Mustang, so you can get the most out of your investment. Shop our website today!

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